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Why the stories we tell are important for health

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Why the stories we tell are important for health

“Our lives are ceaselessly intertwined with narrative, with the stories we tell and hear told, those we dream or imagine or would like to tell, all of which are reworked in the story of our own lives that we narrate to ourselves” (White & Epston, 1990).

Throughout time, people have told stories. Perhaps from the beginning of language—the original “once upon a time”—storytelling has been a way of passing down knowledge and information. Stories tell us who we are, how the world works, and what values we should live by. They tell us what is possible, what is not, and what, if anything, may lay beyond the ordinary world of our senses.

Telling and listening to stories is wired into our psyches and nervous systems. Although stories have, at times, been used to exclude and harm, when used in a therapeutic context they have the power to heal and transform. A good story can foster connection and insight, convey healing or empowering metaphors, and activate a client’s resilience, imagination, and creativity. When a story strikes the right chord, it can shift a client’s perspective and open new ways of thinking and seeing.

It’s no wonder that the ancient art of storytelling has been incorporated into everything from violence prevention and trauma reduction programs to medical care and psychotherapy (Zerla, 2017; Hammel, 2018). Dan Yashinsky, a professional storyteller, has used his craft in medical settings and found that “for people with dementia, storytelling sparks rich and imaginative responses, even from those who have forgotten the names of their loved ones. For psychiatry patients, being treated for severe depression, wonder tales full of breathtaking suspense can help them regain their desire to discover what happens next—in the story, and in their own lives. In the palliative unit, we listen to life stories, share tales of wisdom from around the world, and we laugh, too, despite the solemn setting” (Yashinsky, 2017).

When social workers think about storytelling in the context of counseling, many think about the stories clients bring—conscious and unconscious—about their history, relationships, and struggles. Or they may think about how, during the course of therapeutic exploration and processing, new narratives that better support a client’s hopes and psychological growth are created.

But in some cases, counseling professionals are the ones doing the storytelling. Whether sharing tales of the Trojan War with combat veterans (Shay, 2003), reading children’s stories intended to foster psychological growth in terminally ill patients (Grey, 1998), or using fairy tales to enhance a sense of meaning and purpose (Bettelheim, 2010), or telling “healing stories” aimed at altering self-limiting beliefs and reactive patterns (Burns, 2001), social workers can use this timeworn craft to strengthen the therapeutic bond and catalyze change.

Benefits

The potential benefits of incorporating storytelling into the therapeutic encounter are numerous and include the following:

• Stories often contain profound wisdom as well as metaphorical and archetypal truths that can be conveyed in familiar images and simple language.

• Stories help us see and assimilate things about our life and circumstances from a comfortable distance, at a safe pace, in a context of safety and support.

• A story can create warmth and connection between the one telling the story and the one listening, enhancing the therapeutic alliance.

• For those feeling stuck or with little energy as they struggle with depression, illness, or overwhelming stress, hearing a story can be a pleasant respite during which they can simply relax and listen.

• Stories can engage our sense of humor, uncover strengths and novel solutions, and normalize experiences in ways that reduce feelings of shame or isolation. They can enhance our perspective, loosen the weight of troubling thoughts and emotions, evoke positive memories, and inspire hope.

• Stories can be multidimensional and multisensory, honing in on not just what a character did but also what they thought and felt, what was happening inside their bodies, and what they intended by their behavior vs. how those behaviors were interpreted by others.

• Many stories contain a therapeutically useful archetype that Joseph Campbell (1988) called the “hero’s journey” in which a person is compelled or pushed, often by some kind of crisis, onto a difficult journey during which trials and doubts are faced, and perspective and wisdom acquired.

• Reflecting on the ways Milton Erickson, MD, used stories in psychotherapy, Rosen (1991) points out that counseling professionals can choose stories that contain specific “therapeutic suggestions” that engage a client’s unconscious mind to create new expectations and visions of what is possible.

Incorporating Into Practice

For social workers interested in adding this dimension to their practice, stories can be drawn from virtually anywhere. Legends, myths, sacred texts, and world literary

pink

Rose was extremely independent. For months, she struggled with the progression of respiratory illnesses, refusing anyone to help her. When she became unsteady on her feet, she finally allowed her daughter to move in and help with the care.

To her surprise, Rose found that giving up household chores and responsibilities associated with her illness freed up more time and energy for her family and friends. She began to appreciate little things that previously went unnoticed, like the sound of birds emitted in the early morning and the way the love she felt for her newborn grandson gave her a tingling feeling in her stomach.

On one visit, she reflected on the paradox of how her body had become weak and unreliable, but her spirit, her inner self, was growing stronger and more sensitive to what was important.

She searched in vain for words to describe this paradox. On her wall was a picture of the great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. I thought of an anecdote from the bus boycott in Montgomery, AL in the 1950s, in which African-American citizens protested the racial segregation of public transportation. refused to take the city bus. I was wondering if a story would help Rose.

I told her about an older woman tired from months of walking instead of taking the bus. Fatigue crept into his hunched body and idling. At a community meeting after a long day, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to her. Recognizing her commitment to the cause, he told her that there would be no disapproval if she returned to taking the buses. When she told him she would keep walking, he asked if she was tired. She replied, “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.”

Rose smiled, repeating the phrase as if she had a holy power. We talked about how tired the woman was and how hard it must have been. But under exhaustion, she lurked a core of strength and peace. The story highlighted some of the truths emerging from Rose’s experience: her life had innate value regardless of her ability to maintain her roles and physical function, and inner strength was more substantial than physical strength.

In the weeks that followed, as Rose was confined to bed and struggling to cope with the loss of privacy and independence, she would frequently repeat the phrase during my visits: “My feet are tired, but my soul is rested.” She became an access point to connect with her deeper self and reinforce the fact that even though her body was getting weaker, her inner self was getting wiser, stronger.

Experience storytelling

In a sense, counseling and psychotherapy can be seen as a sophisticated type of storytelling in which clients’ stories are evoked, shared, heard, explored, and transformed. While social workers approach clients and patients using a variety of explanation and intervention models, we all carry stories and some of them can be helpful depending on the client.

While there is much to be said for how to choose, craft, time, and deliver a story in the context of consulting, for those interested in experiencing storytelling, Lankton, and Lankton (1989) suggest using stories and anecdotes with therapeutic metaphors that derive from of the social worker’s experience, knowledge, and interests: “Stories that derive from the therapist’s authentic experiences and understandings are believable and, when relevant to the client’s desired learning, are also fascinating, interesting, and engaging.”

Recognizing the need to protect confidentiality and professional boundaries, they suggest considering a client’s goals and clinical presentation and asking, “How is this going in my experience?” The people and images that come to mind in response to this question become the raw material from which a therapeutic metaphor can be constructed.

– Scott Janssen, MSW, LCSW, is a hospice social worker in Durham, North Carolina, and a member of the Trauma Informed Care Task Force of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Some of the material in this article was adapted from his book Standing at Lemhi Pass: Archetypal Stories for the End of Life and Other Challenging Times.

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Non starchy veggies: The Key to a Healthy Diet

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Non starchy veggies: The Key to a Healthy Diet

In the realm of nutrition, non-starchy vegetables often take center stage as superheroes of health. Unlike their starchy counterparts, non-starchy vegetables offer a plethora of benefits without significantly impacting blood sugar levels or adding excessive calories to your diet. Let’s delve into what makes these veggies so special and why they should have a prominent place on your plate.

What Are Non starchy veggies?

Non starchy veggies are plant-based foods that contain minimal amounts of carbohydrates and calories compared to starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas. These vegetables are typically rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, making them essential for overall health and well-being.

Benefits of Non starchy veggies

One of the most significant advantages of Non starchy veggies is their role in weight management. Since they are low in calories and high in fiber, they help promote satiety, preventing overeating and aiding in weight loss or weight maintenance efforts.

Blood Sugar Control

For individuals with diabetes or those looking to stabilize blood sugar levels, non-starchy vegetables are a valuable addition to the diet. Their low glycemic index means they have minimal impact on blood glucose levels, making them suitable for maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day.

Improved Digestion

The fiber content in non-starchy vegetables supports digestive health by promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Additionally, the various nutrients and antioxidants found in these vegetables contribute to a healthy gut microbiome, further enhancing digestion and nutrient absorption.

Nutrient Density

Non-starchy vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are vital for optimal health. Incorporating a variety of colorful vegetables into your diet ensures you receive a wide array of nutrients necessary for supporting various bodily functions and preventing nutrient deficiencies.

Examples of Non starchy veggies

Non starchy veggies come in a diverse range of colors, flavors, and textures. Some common examples include:

  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
  • Bell peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans

How to Incorporate Non starchy veggies into Your Diet

Adding non-starchy vegetables to your meals can be simple and delicious. Here are a few ideas:

  • Start your day with a veggie-packed omelet or smoothie.
  • Use lettuce wraps instead of bread for sandwiches.
  • Incorporate vegetables into stir-fries, soups, and salads.
  • Roast or grill vegetables as a flavorful side dish.
  • Snack on raw veggies with hummus or Greek yogurt dip.

Non starchy veggies Cooking Tips and Recipes

Roasted Veggie Medley

Ingredients:

  • Assorted non-starchy vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Chop the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and place them on a baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  4. Toss the vegetables to coat them evenly with the seasonings.
  5. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned.
  6. Serve as a side dish or add to salads, pasta, or grain bowls.

Conclusion

Non starchy veggies are nutritional powerhouses that offer numerous health benefits, including weight management, blood sugar control, improved digestion, and nutrient density. By incorporating a variety of colorful vegetables into your meals, you can enhance your overall health and well-being while enjoying delicious and satisfying food.

FAQs

  1. Are non-starchy vegetables suitable for a low-carb diet?
    • Yes, non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and can be enjoyed as part of a low-carb eating plan.
  2. Can I eat unlimited amounts of non-starchy vegetables?
    • While non-starchy vegetables are low in calories, it’s still essential to practice portion control and include a variety of foods in your diet for optimal nutrition.
  3. Are canned non-starchy vegetables as nutritious as fresh ones?
    • Fresh non-starchy vegetables are typically higher in nutrients and flavor compared to canned varieties, which may contain added sodium or preservatives. However, canned vegetables can still be a convenient and nutritious option when fresh produce is not available.
  4. Do non-starchy vegetables contain any protein?
    • While non-starchy vegetables are not significant sources of protein, they do contain small amounts that can contribute to overall protein intake when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
  5. Can I eat non-starchy vegetables raw?
    • Yes, many non-starchy vegetables can be enjoyed raw and are delicious additions to salads, sandwiches, and snacks.
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HEALTH

Weighted Clothing: Elevate Your Workout Routine

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Weighted Clothing: Elevate Your Workout Routine

Weighted clothing has emerged as a popular accessory among fitness enthusiasts seeking to enhance their workout routines. These specialized garments offer a variety of benefits, from increasing muscle strength to improving endurance. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of weighted clothing, exploring its benefits, types, safety considerations, and how to incorporate it into your fitness regimen effectively.

Introduction to Weighted Clothing

Weighted clothing, as the name suggests, refers to garments specially designed to carry additional weight. These items are typically worn during exercise to add resistance, thereby intensifying the workout. They come in various forms, including vests, ankle weights, wrist weights, and weighted belts.

Benefits of Using Weighted Clothing

The utilization of weighted clothing offers a plethora of advantages for individuals looking to amplify their fitness efforts. Some key benefits include:

Enhanced Strength and Endurance

Weighted clothing increases the load on your muscles, forcing them to work harder during exercise. This leads to greater strength gains and improved endurance over time.

Calorie Burn

The added resistance from weighted clothing elevates the intensity of your workouts, resulting in increased calorie expenditure. This can aid in weight loss efforts and promote fat burning.

Versatility

Weighted clothing can be incorporated into various exercises and activities, including walking, running, and bodyweight exercises, making them a versatile tool for fitness enthusiasts.

Types of Weighted Clothing

Vests

Weighted vests are among the most common types of weighted clothing. They typically feature pockets or compartments where weighted plates can be inserted to adjust the resistance level.

Ankle weights

Ankle weights are strapped around the ankles to add resistance to lower body movements such as walking, jogging, and leg lifts.

Wrist Weights

Wrist weights are worn around the wrists and are ideal for adding resistance to arm exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, and punching movements.

Weighted Belts

Weighted belts are designed to be worn around the waist and can be used to add resistance to exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

How Weighted Clothing Works

Weighted clothing functions by increasing the load on your muscles, forcing them to adapt to the added resistance. This leads to improvements in strength, endurance, and overall fitness levels.

Safety Precautions When Using Weighted Clothing

While weighted clothing can be an effective tool for enhancing workouts, it’s essential to use them safely to avoid injury. Some safety precautions to keep in mind include:

  • Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance as your strength improves.
  • Avoid wearing weighted clothing for extended periods to prevent strain on your joints and muscles.
  • Listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience any pain or discomfort.
  • Ensure that the weighted clothing fits properly and does not restrict your movement.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Weighted Clothing

Before purchasing weighted clothing, there are several factors to consider to ensure you select the right option for your needs:

Material

Opt for high-quality, breathable materials that provide comfort and durability during workouts.

Weight Distribution

Choose weighted clothing with evenly distributed weights to prevent imbalance and reduce the risk of injury.

Comfort

Look for adjustable straps and padding to ensure a comfortable fit that allows for a full range of motion.

Adjustability

Select weighted clothing with adjustable weight options to customize the resistance level based on your fitness goals and preferences.

Incorporating Weighted Clothing Into Your Workout Routine

To maximize the benefits of weighted clothing, it’s essential to incorporate them strategically into your workout routine. Start by adding them to basic exercises such as squats, lunges, and push-ups, and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves.

Weighted Clothing for Specific Fitness Goals

Weighted clothing can be tailored to various fitness goals, including:

Strength Training

Use weighted clothing to increase the resistance during strength training exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

Endurance Training

Incorporate weighted clothing into cardiovascular activities such as walking, running, and cycling to improve endurance and stamina.

Weight Loss

By adding resistance to your workouts, weighted clothing can help accelerate calorie burn and promote weight loss when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.

Alternatives to Weighted Clothing

While weighted clothing offers numerous benefits, there are also alternative methods for adding resistance to your workouts, including:

  • Resistance bands
  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Bodyweight exercises

Common Myths About Weighted Clothing

Despite their popularity, there are several myths surrounding weighted clothing that need to be debunked:

  • Myth: Weighted clothing is only for professional athletes.
    • Reality: Weighted clothing can be used by individuals of all fitness levels to enhance their workouts and achieve their goals.
  • Myth: Weighted clothing always leads to muscle bulk.
    • Reality: While weighted clothing can contribute to muscle growth, it depends on various factors such as exercise selection, intensity, and frequency.
  • Myth: Wearing weighted clothing all day is beneficial.
    • Reality: Extended wear of weighted clothing can strain your muscles and joints, leading to discomfort and potential injury.

Success Stories and Testimonials

Many individuals have experienced remarkable results by incorporating weighted clothing into their fitness routines. Here are some success stories and testimonials:

  • “I’ve seen significant improvements in my strength and endurance since adding weighted clothing to my workouts.”
  • “Weighted clothing has helped me break through fitness plateaus and achieve new personal bests.”
  • “I love how versatile weighted clothing is—I can use them for various exercises to target different muscle groups.”

Tips for Maximizing the Effectiveness of Weighted Clothing

To get the most out of your weighted clothing, consider the following tips:

  • Gradually increase the resistance to challenge your muscles progressively.
  • Rotate the exercises you perform with weighted clothing to prevent overuse injuries and keep your workouts engaging.
  • Listen to your body and adjust the intensity as needed to avoid overexertion and injury.

Maintenance and Care of Weighted Clothing

Proper maintenance and care are essential to ensure the longevity of your weighted clothing:

  • Clean your weighted clothing regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to remove sweat and odor buildup.
  • Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent damage to the fabric and weights.
  • Check the integrity of the seams and straps regularly to ensure they remain secure during workouts.

Conclusion

Weighted clothing offers a versatile and effective way to enhance your workout routine and achieve your fitness goals. By incorporating these specialized garments into your exercises strategically and following safety guidelines, you can maximize their benefits and take your fitness journey to new heights.

FAQs

  1. Can anyone use weighted clothing, or is it only for advanced athletes?
    • Weighted clothing can be used by individuals of all fitness levels, but it’s essential to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the resistance as you progress.
  2. Are there any risks associated with wearing weighted clothing?
    • While weighted clothing can be safe when used correctly, there is a risk of injury if the weight is too heavy or if the clothing is worn for extended periods. It’s crucial to listen to your body and exercise caution to avoid strain or discomfort.
  3. How should I clean and maintain my weighted clothing?
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your weighted clothing, typically involving gentle washing and air drying. Regular maintenance, such as checking seams and straps for wear and tear, is also recommended to ensure safety and longevity.
  4. Can I wear weighted clothing during all types of exercise?
    • Weighted clothing can be worn during a wide range of exercises, including strength training, cardiovascular activities, and bodyweight exercises. However, it’s essential to choose exercises that allow for proper form and movement to prevent injury.
  5. What is the recommended duration for wearing weighted clothing during a workout?
    • The duration of wearing weighted clothing during a workout can vary depending on individual fitness levels and goals. It’s advisable to start with shorter durations and gradually increase as you build strength and endurance, while also listening to your body for signs of fatigue or strain.
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HEALTH

Slim Down Deliciously: Unveiling the Banana Trick for Weight Loss

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Slim Down Deliciously: Unveiling the Banana Trick for Weight Loss

Banana Trick for Weight Loss, Bananas are not only delicious but can also be your secret weapon in your weight loss journey. One popular method, known as the banana trick, has gained traction among health enthusiasts for its simplicity and effectiveness. Let’s delve deeper into how this trick can aid in shedding those extra pounds and achieving your fitness goals.

Understanding the Banana Trick for Weight Loss

The Banana Trick for Weight Loss revolves around the idea of incorporating bananas strategically into your diet to promote weight loss. But how does it work exactly? Bananas are rich in essential nutrients and have several properties that make them conducive to weight management.

Banana Trick for Weight Loss Potassium

Banana Trick for Weight Loss, Bananas are packed with potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in regulating fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. This electrolyte helps prevent water retention and bloating, contributing to a leaner appearance.

Banana Trick for Weight Loss Fiber

Banana Trick for Weight Loss, Fiber is essential for promoting satiety and regulating digestion. Bananas are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full for longer periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

Low Calorie Content

Banana Trick for Weight Loss, Despite their sweet taste, bananas are relatively low in calories compared to many other snacks. This makes them an excellent choice for satisfying cravings without sabotaging your calorie intake.

Substituting Unhealthy Snacks with Bananas

Instead of reaching for sugary or high-fat snacks, opt for a banana whenever hunger strikes. Not only will it satisfy your sweet tooth, but it will also provide you with a nutrient-packed alternative.

Banana Smoothies for Meal Replacement

Blend bananas with other fruits, greens, and a source of protein such as yogurt or protein powder to create a filling and nutritious meal replacement. Smoothies are convenient options for busy individuals looking to maintain a balanced diet on the go.

Adding Bananas to Salads and Oatmeal

Slice bananas and add them to your salads or oatmeal for an extra burst of flavor and nutrients. This simple addition can elevate your meals while keeping you on track with your weight loss goals.

Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Banana Trick for Weight Loss

Pairing the banana trick with a regular exercise routine can amplify its weight loss benefits. Engaging in cardiovascular exercises, strength training, or yoga can help you burn calories and build lean muscle mass.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is crucial for supporting overall health and facilitating weight loss. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day, especially when consuming fiber-rich foods like bananas, to prevent constipation and promote optimal digestion.

Balanced Diet

While bananas can be a valuable addition to your weight loss plan, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Incorporate lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.

Tips for Sustainable Weight Loss with Bananas

While bananas are nutritious, consuming them in excess can contribute to an imbalance in your diet. Enjoy bananas in moderation as part of a well-rounded meal plan to avoid consuming too much sugar or calories.

Variety

Don’t limit yourself to just one way of enjoying bananas. Experiment with different recipes and preparations to keep your meals exciting and prevent boredom.

Banana Trick for Weight Loss Sugar Content

Although natural, bananas contain sugar in the form of fructose. While this isn’t inherently unhealthy, individuals with diabetes or those closely monitoring their carbohydrate intake should be mindful of their banana consumption.

Individual Preferences and Allergies

While bananas are generally well-tolerated, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to them. Additionally, personal taste preferences may vary, so it’s essential to choose foods that align with your preferences and dietary restrictions.

Success Stories and Testimonials

Numerous individuals have experienced success with the banana trick, achieving their weight loss goals and improving their overall health. Testimonials and success stories serve as inspiration and motivation for others embarking on their weight loss journey.

Conclusion

Incorporating the banana trick into your weight loss plan can be a simple yet effective strategy for achieving your fitness goals. By leveraging the nutritional benefits of bananas and integrating them into your meals and snacks, you can support sustainable weight loss while nourishing your body with essential nutrients.

FAQs

  1. Is it true that bananas can help with weight loss?
    • Yes, bananas are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a satisfying and nutritious choice for individuals looking to lose weight.
  2. How many bananas should I eat per day for weight loss?
    • There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It’s best to incorporate bananas into your diet in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist for personalized guidance.
  3. Can I eat bananas at any time of the day for weight loss?
    • Yes, bananas can be enjoyed at any time of the day as part of a balanced diet. However, some people prefer to eat them earlier in the day to take advantage of their energy-boosting properties.
  4. Are there any side effects of eating too many bananas?
    • While bananas are generally safe for consumption, eating them in excess could potentially lead to gastrointestinal discomfort for some individuals due to their high fiber content.
  5. Can I still lose weight if I don’t like bananas?
    • Absolutely! While bananas can be a helpful addition to a weight loss plan, they’re not the only option. Focus on incorporating a variety of nutritious foods that you enjoy to support your weight loss journey.
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